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What Are Signs & Symptoms of Epilepsy?

Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of epilepsy from Steve Wolf, MD and Patty McGoldrick, NP in this Howcast video.


Speaker 1: Seizures can present in many different ways, and I think that's what can be so confusing. In little babies they can just be quick little jerks, or startles, or what even looks like baby reflexes. In older children they can be very unusual headaches, episodes of falling asleep very quickly and easily, falling to the ground, jerking, twitching, gurgling sounds, so I think you can't even describe only one way a seizure can present. It can present in many different ways.

Speaker 2: I think the ones that get missed most often are the children that may have attentional issues. Parents or teachers will say they're zoning out, they're missing things. Little times when their eyes roll up or their eyes turn to the side that may be so brief and quick that they don't notice it. The other big one that gets missed is babies that they're written off as having reflux or spitting up, and they're actually having seizures.

Speaker 1: I think parents are really good to know when something seems different about their children. And if they have a worry I think it's important to discuss it with their pediatrician about what they think is different about the child.

Speaker 2: And I also think that even if people are saying to them, this is nothing don't worry about it, it's always useful to forge forward and make sure that you go on to see a neurologist or a specialist just to take another look. What we like to do is have people videotape these events that they're worried about. Then they come in with a movie or a video of what they're looking at, and that's very helpful. Because we can often just look at it and tell is that really suspicious for a seizure, is that just weird baby movements, or a child not paying attention in school. We still go ahead and do the work up, but that's a good starting point.

Speaker 1: So, basically, seizures can present in many different ways - staring, zoning out, spacing, jerking, twitching. As a parent, if you feel something is unusual or different bring it up to your pediatrician. Videotaping it with your cell phone to show the doctor what you see and what you're worried about is probably the best way to communicate what you're seeing and what's so unusual.

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